Tesla has delayed the release of the Cybertruck until 2022 at the earliest. It had originally planned to release it near the end of 2021 but says that a shortage of components is forcing it to delay production yet again. Customers who are interested in the Cybertruck can still place a $100 deposit but won’t be able to choose their final configuration until Tesla is close to ready to manufacture it.
Much of the shortage may be caused by the response to COVID-19, which forced the closure or limited operations of many factories. Elon Musk brought the issue of forced factory closures to the fore in the state of California when he challenged state- and county-level officials in court over the forced closure of the Tesla factory in Fremont.
The shortage of semiconductor chips that are used in automobile batteries has especially been a concern for the automotive industry. Geopolitics may be a major factor in this problem, as there is currently a growing dispute over the status of Taiwan, which claims its independence from mainland China even though China disputes this. The majority of semiconductor chips is manufactured in Taiwan. Tesla has floated the idea of acquiring a factory that manufactures them in order to secure a supply of chips for its electric vehicle batteries.
The Cybertruck will also require specialized and often brand-new manufacturing techniques such as the production of a 30-time cold-rolled stainless-steel frame known as the Exoskeleton. Tesla says that it currently lacks the equipment meant to manufacture it.
Tesla plans to manufacture the Cybertruck, along with the all-electric Tesla Semi, at the Gigafactory in Austin, Texas, which is currently under construction. When this Gigafactory is finally open, it will add 10,000 jobs in the Austin area.
(Seriously? If you live in Austin and need a job, check out Tesla’s career page and SpaceX’s career page. Both companies are on a massive hiring spree in Texas. And don’t think that you have to be an engineer to work for one of Elon Musk’s companies. SpaceX is currently hiring a mixologist to work at its bar in Boca Chica!)
Tesla has also blamed “issues with the supply chain and regional permits,” possibly referring to Elon Musk’s companies’ frequent wrangling with regulators. In Tesla’s case, it has had to deal with a lot of regulatory red tape when getting permits to complete the manufacturing of its Gigafactories.
Germany has been especially bad about this, with most of the delays in the completion of Gigafactory Berlin having to do with bureaucratic delays in the approval of permits and legal challenges from local environmentalist groups. Due to the delays, Tesla still has to import most of the vehicles sold in the European market from Gigafactory Shanghai in China.
Meanwhile, competitors like Ford and Chevrolet are gearing up to release electric versions of their popular pickup trucks. Due to pressure from the competition, Tesla recently added four-wheel drive to the Cybertruck. Elon Musk has admitted that the Cybertruck might flop, although he thinks the design, which looks like a vehicle from a low-resolution video game, is cool. He probably won’t have to worry about the Cybertruck failing to sell well when it finally goes into production, though. Customers have already made more than 1.25 million reservations for the vehicle.